Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Netherlands Scottish History
The Scots Brigade


Scots fought for the Netherlands for over two centuries and in here you will learn more about their records.

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

The papers embraced in this and the subsequent volumes consist of documents, transcribed in Holland, illustrating the services of the Scots regiments to the United Netherlands during the long period of more than two hundred years for which the Scots Brigade formed part of the permanent military establishment of the Dutch Republic, except for an interregnum of about ten years between the Revolution of 1688 and the Peace of Ryswick, when these troops were in British pay, and in the direct service of Great Britain under King William in. They consist of two classes: (a) Documents from the archives lof the United Netherlands at the Hague, relating to part of the sixteenth, the seventeenth, and the eighteenth centuries; and (b) the Rotterdam Papers, a collection of regimental papers which were kept in the regiments, and afterwards preserved among the records of the Scots Church at Rotterdam, from which they were removed to the municipal archives at the Town Hall, where they still remain. In the first volume are [embraced the documents from the Dutch Government archives relating to the period prior to the service of the Brigade in treat Britain after the Revolution of 1688 : in the second it is proposed to include the further documents from the State archives for the period from 1697 to the final merging of the Brigade among the Dutch national troops, and the departure If the British officers : and in the third, the Rotterdam Papers, which form a separate series, will be printed.

The sources from which the papers contained in the first Iwo volumes are drawn consist of several series of records Preserved in the 'Rijks Archief at the Hague. They include extracts from the Resolutions of the States-General, from the secret resolutions of the same, from the ' Instruction Books,1 the files of the incoming documents, and separate portfolios of requests, from the diplomatic correspondence, the secret diplomatic correspondence, and the reports of the ambassadors given to the States-General on their return to the Hague. They also include extracts from the resolutions of the Council of State, from the collection of letters sent to the Council of State, from the commission books of the Land Council at the east side of the Meuse, which preceded the Council of State (1581-84) and of the Council of State, and from the portfolios marked Military Affairs. The names of the officers are taken from the States of War, which are documents made up with the object of showing the military establishment for the time being, and the proportion in which its expenses fell to be defrayed by the separate provinces which constituted the United Netherlands.

It will be noted that the archives of the United Netherlands at the Hague do not furnish illustrations of the earlier history of the Scottish troops, the reason being that it was only after the Union of Utrecht, and the reconciliation of the Walloon Provinces with the King of Spain, that the permanent central government of the outstanding provinces took shape. Previous to this the Scottish troops were either in the service of Holland and Zealand alone, or in that of the States-General of the whole associated provinces of the Low Countries during the campaigns against Don John of Austria. As, however, special interest attaches to the early services of the Scots in the war of independence, there are prefixed to the papers which form the proper subject of the volume, a series of extracts from the Resolutions and Pay Lists of Holland which supply the blank. With this exception the mass of material has rendered it necessary to confine the reproduction to the archives of the United Netherlands. To search for and publish the whole documents relating to the Brigade in the Low Countries would involve ransacking not only the independent archives of Holland, but those also of Zealand, Guelderland, and probably other provinces, and certainly those of the great garrison towns like Breda, Bois-le-Duc, and Maestricht. But a considerable amount of material has been obtained from the Records of Holland, which has been found valuable for purposes of illustration and explanation, while the annotation in regard to the personnel of the officers has been much assisted by extracts from the Oath Books and Commission Books.

The extent of time covered by the subject, and the clear-marked character of the periods into which the history divides itself, indicated the method which has been adopted in the arrangement of the materials. The papers have been collected in sections corresponding to distinct historical developments, and a short historical introduction, noting the services of the Scots regiments, as far as they can be traced, prefixed to each section. The documents have themselves been arranged, irrespective of the series of Dutch records from which they come, in chronological order, subject, however, to the collecting together, where this seemed advisable, of those relating to a particular subject or the claims of a particular individual.

THE SUCCESSION OF THE REGIMENTS

The Scots Brigade in Holland began by the enlistment of separate companies, each complete under its own captain. At what time these were embodied into a distinct regiment it is difficult to say, but they underwent the experience afterwards undergone by the Black Watch, and by every administrative battalion of rifle volunteers. Colonel Ormiston is referred to in 1573. In 1586 the Scots companies were divided into two regiments under Colonels Balfour and Patten, and by the time of the Spanish Armada, if not indeed before, the elder regiment seems to have had its complete regimental organisation. The second regiment was brought over complete by Lord Buccleuch in 1603. The third was formed on a readjustment in 1628, and although from 1655 to 1660 the three were again converted into two, and between 1665 and 1672 the third regiment became completely Hollandised, and its place was taken, in 1673, by a newly raised one, the two older regiments had an unbroken existence from 1588, if not from 1572, and from 1603 respectively, while the third, dating from 1673, substantially represented the one formed in 1628.

But while from 1628 onwards there were substantially three permanent regiments in service, on special occasions the number was increased. Thus in the campaign against Don John of Austria, Stuarts regiment also served, and from the allusion to other colonels, it would seem that there were others in the pay of other provinces. In 1629 the Earl of Morton's regiment, commanded by Lord Hay of Kinfauns, served at the siege of Bois-le-Duc. In 1697-98 three additional Scottish regiments, Ferguson's, Lord Strathnaver, and Hamilton's, were temporarily employed, replacing the English Brigade, and again during the time of Marlborough three regiments (Lord Portmore's, Lord Strathnaver, and Hamilton's) were employed, and reduced after the Peace of Utrecht. Again a fourth regiment, commanded by the Earl of Drumlanrig, was in service from 1747 to 1753.

CAVALRY, ETC.

The services of the Scots were not confined to the infantry arm. During the earlier period there seem to have been at least two companies (squadrons or troops) of Scottish cavalry and sometimes more in the service of the States. Captain Wishart received a commission as captain of horse-arquebusiers in March 1586, and served until 1615 or 1616, when his company appears to have been transferred to Sir William Balfour, who commanded it till 1628. William Edmond received a commission as captain of lancers in 1588, and led his squadron at least until his succession to the command of the infantry regiment in 1699; and his son Thomas came from the infantry to a cavalry command in 1625. Patrick Bruce was commissioned as captain of a hundred lancers in 1593, and Thomas Erskine and Henry Bruce appear as cavalry captains in 1599. Captain Hamilton, a gallant Scottish cavalry captain, fell in the decisive charge at Nieuport in 1600. In 1604, after much deliberation and some remonstrance, the States accepted the offer of Archibald Erskine to raise a company of cuirassiers; and the troubles of a cavalry captain, the anxieties of the magistrates of Zwolle in connection with his troop, and the questions that arose on his death in 1608, will be found illustrated in the papers. In 1617 and 1620 Robert Irving and William Balfour appear as cavalry captains, the former probably being succeeded by the younger Edmond, and at the close of the Thirty Years' War, William Hay and Sir Robert Hume occupy a similar position.

The papers also disclose the names of artillerymen and engineers, while of the infantry officers some, such as William Douglas and Henry Bruce, distinguished themselves as inventors and scientific soldiers. John Cunningham won reputation as an artillery officer at Haarlem, nor was he the only Scot who commanded the artillery. On 30th June 1608, James Bruce's request to succeed Peter Stuart was refused. Breda also requested that James Lawson, a Scot, should be appointed cannoneer of the city. Samuel Prop, engineer, appears in the States of War.

MILITARY ORGANISATION, PAY, ETC.

The numbers of the companies varied. Originally the ordinary strength appears to have been one hundred and fifty for each ordinary company, and two hundred for the colonel's (or life) company. Of the one hundred and fifty, one hundred were musketeers (or harquebusiers) and fifty pikemen. In 1598 the companies were temporarily reduced to one hundred and twenty heads. How long the pikemen were continued is not certain, but General Mackay's Memoirs show that 'old pikemen served in the Scottish campaign of 1689-90. (See documents showing establishment under William the Silent, p. 43, Commissions, pp. 82-93.) The sergeant-major and the provost-marshal appear in 1587, the ' minister' in 1597, and the lieutenant-colonel and quartermaster in 1599. The establishment of a company will be found detailed in the commissions printed on pp. 76-95. It will be noted that in some cases one or two pipers are mentioned, and in others none. In 1607 the colonels remonstrated against the English and Scots companies being reduced to seventy rank and file, 'pesle-mesle avec la reste de ramiee. In 1621 it was resolved to increase the foreign companies to one hundred and twenty.

The number of companies in a regiment seems to have varied, but in the reorganisation into three regiments in 1628 it was fixed at ten companies. The difficulties that attended the supply of men for the regiments, and the competition of foreign states in the British recruiting field, are illustrated by a series of documents relating to the recruiting in England and Scotland between the years 1632 and 1638.

The rates of pay for the different ranks in the time of William the Silent are shown by a document from the archives of the Council of State, prefixed to the States of War of 1579-1609.5 The commissions of 1586 and subsequent years also show the agreed-on pay, and indicate a method of payment which led to many questions. Thus for Colonel Balfour's company of two hundred men, he was entitled to i?2200 of forty Flemish grotten (or groats ?) per pound per month, each month being calculated as consisting of thirty-two days, but the monthly payment was only made each forty-eighth day, and the balance of one-third of the pay thus retained constituted the arrears which led to so many claims on the part of the Scottish officers, to the issue of letters of marque by the King of Scotland in the case of Colonel Stuart, and to the compromises for slump sums or annual pensions, in his, Sir William Murray's, Colonel Balfour's, and other cases. In 1588 the objections of the Scottish captains to this system, and their insistence on obtaining some security for the settlement of their arrears, led to the dismissal of some of them by the States-General, and to the others being required to sign a declaration expressly stating their acquiescence in the practice. In 1596, however, the states of Holland improved the position somewhat by paying the troops for which they were responsible every forty-second, instead of every forty-eighth day.

When in 1678 the Brigade had been fully established on its reorganised basis, the capitulation of that year expressly stipulated, that the pay of the soldiers was to be increased c d'un sous de plus par jour." In 1774 the men had 'twopence' a week more pay than the Dutch troops. At that time a captain's pay came to at most 140 sterling yearly, a colonel's was not above 350, and a lieutenant's about 40, while that of the Swiss companies was much higher.

The appointments of subaltern officers seem originally to have been made by the captains, who raised and brought over the companies. Later on they seem to have been made by the Prince of Orange, who also filled any vacancy in the higher ranks occurring in the field, commissions being subsequently issued by the States-General confirming his appointment. In 1608 the states of Holland resolved that the captains on their repartition should not be allowed to fill vacancies in their lieutenancies and ensigncies without the previous consent of the states or of the committee, who reserved the right of appointment, and this right appears also to have been exercised by other provincial states.

In 1588, after the departure of the Earl of Leicester, the States revised and reformed their whole military establishment, and instituted the system of allocating regiments or companies to be directly paid and supported by the different provinces, which is referred to when they are described as 'on the Repartition' of Holland, of Zealand, of Guelderland, or of any other province. 'lis en firent, says Meteren, 'les repartissions sur chasque province selon qu^lles estoyent quotisees et qu'elles contribuoyent ens charges de la guerre, selon aussi que chasque Province le pouvoit porter, ce que causa des bons et remarquables effets. Les gens de guerre,*' he adds, 'pouvoyent asseurement scavoir en quelle Province ils pouvoyent aller poursuiyvre leur payement, tellement que s'il y avoit quelque faute en cela on le pouvoit incontinent scavoir et le conseil d'Etat y pouvoit remedier. In addition to the ordinary contributions of the provinces, extraordinary contributions were levied on the more wealthy provinces, and the revenue derived from them was administered by the Council of State. At the end of each year the central authority settled accounts with the respective provinces, in regard both to the ordinary and to the extraordinary contributions.

One result of this somewhat complicated system was that the regiments were frequently divided between two provinces, and indeed in 1655 the states of Holland resolved, in view of the fact that of several regiments one portion stood on their repartition and another on that of other provinces, to bring all the forces on the Repartition of Holland together in complete 'Holland regiments; but it seems doubtful whether this was ever fully carried out, although the two Scots regiments in 1655, and the three in 1662, are described as Holland regiments. Certainly in the latter part of the century Mackay"s regiment was on the Repartition of Guelderland, and in 1698 one regiment at least was on the repartition of more than one province.

UNIFORM, A15MS, AND EQUIPMENT

The appearance of the Scottish soldiers in the early years of their service can be gathered from occasional indications in the papers. In carrying the pike in the Low Countries, they found themselves armed with a weapon similar to that which in the hands of the Scottish spearmen had often repelled the charges of England's chivalry. The Spaniards regarded the pike as la seiiora y reyna de los armas, but at push of pike, they found their match in the sturdy English infantry, and the ' sure men' of the Scots Foot. The arquebuse gave place to the musket, and in 1689 one at least of the regiments was in whole or in part fusiliejs.

In 1559, Prince Maurice prescribed a uniform equipment for the troops in the service of the States;x and the approved w.eapons seem to have been strictly insisted on. Thus it is

I x 'Parmy l'Infanterie ceux qui portoyent des Picques debvoyent avoir un Heaulme, un Gorgerin avec la Angrasse devant et derriere, et une Espee. La picque devoit estre longue de dix-huict pieds, et tout cela sur certaines peines establies. II falloit pareillement que la quatriesme partie de ceux qui portoyent des Picques fussent armes de garde bas jusques au coulde, et au bas de larges tassettes. Les Mousquetaires debvoyent avoir un Heaulme, une Espee, un Mousquet portant une balle de dix en la Livre, et une Fourchelte. Les Harquebusiers debvoyent avoir un Heaulme, une Espee, une bonne Harquebuse d'un calibre qui debvoit porter une balle de vingt en la Livre, mais en tirant une balle de 24 en la Livre, et chacun avoit ses gages et sa solde a l'advenant. Nous avons trouve bon de dire cecy, afin que nos successeurs puissent scavoir de quelles armes on s'est servy en ce temps en Pays-Bas en ceste guerre' (Meteren, fol. 451, where the cavalry equipment is also described. See also fol. 416. The fourth part of the pikemen were to be picked and seasoned soldiers, of whom Mackay records that they stood by and were cut down with his brother, their colonel, at Killiecrankie, when the ' shot' men broke and fled noted that new levies were good men, but ' armed after the fashion of their country.' It has been thought that the Highland dress was worn by some at least of the Scots who fought at Jteminant in 1578, and it would seem that at various periods a considerable number of recruits were drawn from the Highlands. In 1576 an ' interpreter for the Scottish language was appointed in connection with ' the affair and fault of certain Scotsmen,' and in 1747, the orders had to be explained to some of the men of Lord Drumlanrig's regiment in their own language, because they did not understand English.

Even in the days of Queen Elizabeth, 'the red casaques' of the English soldiers had attracted attention in the Low Countries. From at least the time of the reorganisation in 1674, the Scots Brigade was clothed in the national scarlet. In 1691, Mackay's regiment wore red, lined with red, and Ramsay's red, lined with white. Lauder's being then in Scotland, the colour of its facings has not been recorded, but from a picture of an officer serving in it in the middle of the eighteenth century, it would appear that then at least its facings were yellow. Curious evidence as to the uniform of the Brigade in 1690 is preserved by a Highland tradition. It is said that before Major Ferguson's expedition to the Western Isles in 1690, the people of Egg were warned of its coming by a man who had the gift of 'second-sight,' and that those who were taken prisoners testified to the accuracy of his description, seeing the troops, ' some being clad with red coats, some with white coats and grenadier caps, some armed with sword and pike, and some with sword and musket."' The author of Strictures on Military Discipline, comparing the position of the Scots with that of the Swiss, observed, 'They enjoy no privilege as British troops, except the trifling distinction of being dressed in red, taking the right of the army when encamped or on a march, and having twopence a week more pay for the private men than the Dutch troops have.

'The question of rank,' says the author of the ' Historical Account,' ' which in military affairs is a serious matter, seems to have been decided between the English and Scots by the antiquity of the regiments, perhaps rather by the seniority of the colonels, but as royal troops, both always ranked before the troops of the United Provinces or those belonging to German princes, which right never was contested with regard to the Scots Brigade until the year 1783.' Dr. Porteous the chaplain, in his ' Short Account,' takes higher ground and says : ' Being royal troops, they claimed, they demanded, and would not be refused the post of honour and the precedence of all the troops in the service of the States. Even the English regiments yielded it to the seniority of the Scots Brigade. This station they occupied on every occasion for two hundred years, and in no instance did they appear unworthy of it. They never lost a stand of colours; even when whole battalions seemed to fall, the few that remained gloried in preserving these emblems of their country.'

RELATIONS OF THE REGIMENTS TO THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT AND THE BRITISH MONARCH

There were always elements of difficulty and delicacy in an arrangement by which the subjects of one state served in a body as soldiers of another. The Netherlands looked to Austria, to France, and to England in succession for a ruler whom they might substitute for the King of Spain. Queen Elizabeth was too astute to accept the sovereignty; but through the substantial aid she afforded, the impignoration to her of the cautionary towns, and the appointment of her favourite as Governor-General and Captain-General, she as nearly as possible in fact annexed the Netherlands after the death of William the Silent. But the rule of the Earl of Leicester, ineffective in the field, and productive of heartburnings and jealousies in the council and the camp, rendered the States very suspicious of further foreign interference. Thus when, in 1592, King James asserted his position as equivalent to that of his haughty cousin of England—whose idiosyncrasies he is found palliating to the representatives of the States, as weaknesses of her sex— by granting a commission to Colonel Balfour to command all the Scots troops in the Dutch service, the States refused to recognise it, and affirmed their determination that none could serve in their lands on any other commission than that of the States-General. In 1604 they again refused to receive Lord Buccleuch as 'general of his nation' as recommended by King James, although it was pressed as due to Scotland, and appropriate, there having been a general of the English troops, and the Scots being raised to an equal strength with the English. In 1653 the complete conversion of the British troops into 'national Dutch' was canvassed, and in 1665 it was carried out; but after the reorganisation under William Henry of Orange, when the new English Brigade was formed, and the old Scots was increased and resumed its own national character, the combined British Brigade was definitely placed under the command of a British officer, whose rank, pay, and precedence were clearly fixed by the capitulation of January 1678, entered into by the Prince of Orange as Captain-General and the Earl of Ossory. It was expressly stipulated that the general should be a natural subject of the King of Great Britain, and that, should his Majesty call the regiments to his service at home, the States should allow them to be embarked at a port to be selected. When, however, the critical occasion arrived and the king sought to exercise the right of recall in 1688, the States refused to let the regiments go, or to recognise the binding character of the capitulation, founding with some special pleading on what appears to have been a failure on the part of the Dutch government to fully carry out its terms in reference to the increase of the pay. But the troops were recognised in Britain as a part of the British army, and the officers'' commissions subsisted in spite of a change from the one establishment to the other. 'While, says the 'Historical Account,' 'the British regiments were in the pay of Holland, the officers commissions were in the name of the States, and it was not thought necessary they should have other commissions, even when they were upon the establishment of their own country, until vacancies happened, in which case the new commissions were in the king's name. Thus when Colonel Hugh Mackay came over to England on the recall of the Brigade in 1685, King James promoted him to the rank of major-general, not considering him the less as a colonel in his army that his former commission was in the name of the States. And when the same General Mackay, who held his regiment by a Dutch commission, was killed, the regiment was given a few days after to Colonel AEneas Mackay, whose commission is English, and in the name of King William and Queen Mary.

The officers of the Brigade had to take an oath on receiving their commissions as captains or in higher rank. In 1588, thev were also required to sign a declaration stating their acquiescence in the system of pay. In 1653, during the war with the English Commonwealth, a new form of oath was devised, and again in 1664 in the war with Great Britain, when the regiments were temporarily converted into ' national Dutch,' the officers were required ' in addition to the usual military oath,' to take one to the effect that they were under no obligation to obey, and would not obey any commands except those of the States-General, and the States their paymasters, or others indicated in the said oath of fealty, and that they acknowledged none but the States as their sovereign rulers. It is also noted that the new commissions then issued were in Dutch.

Upon the reorganisation of the Brigade under William Henry of Orange, and General Mackay, it was placed on a more distinctive footing as British troops than ever before. The British standing army was in its infancy, and the Scots and English Brigades in Holland formed a very large proportion of its strength. Their position in the Netherlands was analogous to that of Douglas's (the Earl of Dumbarton's) regiment, now the Royal Scots, and of others in the service of France. As Douglas's regiment became the 1st of the Line, and two of the English-Dutch regiments that were formed in 1674 and came over in 1688, the 5th and 6th, so the three Scottish regiments, had they remained in British pay after 1697, would have ranked very high in the British army list.

It may indeed be questioned whether the old regiment dating from the days of William the Silent might not have claimed precedence even over the Royal Scots, on the ground that while that regiment's descent is clear and continuous from the union of a Scots regiment in France with the survivors of Gustavus Adolphus's Scots troops, its earlier traditions, though august and ancient, are more or less mythical. Certainly the old and the second regiments would have been at least on an equal footing with the 3rd Buffs—formerly the old English Holland regiment—while the third was entitled to rank along with the fifth and sixth.

In the eighteenth century the position of those serving in the Brigade as entitled to all the privileges of British subjects was emphatically recognised. 'Even the children,' says Dr. Porteous the chaplain, in his ' Short Account,' ' born in the Brigade were British subjects without naturalisation or any other legal act. The men always swore the same oaths with other British soldiers, and by an Act of Parliament, 27 Geo. u. the officers were obliged as members of the British state serving under the Crown to take the same oaths with officers serving in the British dominions. The beating orders issued by the War Office were in the same terms with those for other regiments : "' To serve His Majesty King George in the regiment of foot commanded by--------------" accordingly all the men were enlisted to serve His Majesty, not the States. Their colours, their uniform, even the sash and the gorget were those of their country, and the word of command was always given in the language of Scotland.

Such was their footing, until in 1782 the States-General resolved, ' That after the first of January 1783, these regiments shall be put on the same footing in every respect with the national troops of Holland, and the officers are required to take an oath of allegiance to the states of Holland and renounce their allegiance to Great Britain for ever on or before the above-mentioned day. Their colours, which are now British, are to be taken from them and replaced with Dutch ones, and they are to wear the uniform of the Provinces ; the word of command is to be given in Dutch ; the officers are to wear orange sashes, and carry the same sort of spontoons as the officers of other Dutch regiments.1 By the oath prescribed for the officers they were bound to affirm that during their service they would 'not acknowledge any one out of these Provinces as their sovereign.1 This time there was no recovery for the Brigade. Fifty-five of the officers refused to take the oath, resigned their commissions in March 1783, and came over to Britain. They were placed on half-pay without delay, and in 1793 His Majesty King George in. ' being pleased to revive the Scots Brigade, a regiment of three battalions, 'the Scotch Brigade' of the British service, subsequently numbered as the old 94th regiment of the line, was raised, to which they were appointed.

RECURRENCE OF SAME NAMES AMONG THE OFFICERS

In one respect the Scots Brigade was peculiarly Scottish. Probably no military body ever existed in which members of the same families were so constantly employed for generations. 'The officers,' says Dr. Porteous, 'entered into the service very early; they were trained up under their fathers and grandfathers who had grown old in the service; they expected a slow, certain, and unpurchased promotion, but almost always in the same corps, and before they attained to command they were qualified for it. Though they served a foreign state, yet not) in a distant country, they were still under the eye of their own, and considered themselves as the depositaries of her military fame. Hence their remarkable attachment to one another, and to the country whose name they bore and from whence they came; hence that high degree of ambition for supporting the renown of Scotland and the glory of the Scots Brigade' The discipline of the Brigade, enforced with far less severity than was customary in the German and Swiss regiments in the same service, was acknowledged, and the author of the 'Historical Account' observes that ' the rule observed in the Brigade of giving commissions only to persons of those families whom the more numerous class of the people in Scotland have from time immemorial respected as their superiors, made it easy to maintain authority without such severity.' The Scots officers also took care to let the foreigners under whom they served know that the methods of enforcing discipline in vogue in Continental armies would not do with Scottish soldiery, for *Scotsmen would not easily be brought to bear German punishments.'' 'Gentlemen of the families, says the writer of the Strictures of Balfour Lord Burley, Scott Earl of Buccleuch, Preston of Seton, Halkett of Pitfirran, and many of different families of the name of Stewart, Hay, Sinclair, Douglas, Graham, Hamilton, etc., were among the first who went over,' and a glance through the States of War shows how repeatedly many of these names recurred in the Brigade throughout its service. These lists indicate that the counties on the shores of the Forth, and in particular Fife, had the closest connection with the brigade, but Perthshire, Forfar, Aberdeenshire, and the Highlands, more especially after General Mackay entered it, and other parts of Scotland had their representatives under its colours. No name was more honourably or more intimately associated with its fortunes than that of Balfour, which in the first century of its existence supplied at least seventeen or eighteen captains, among whom were Sir Henry Balfour and Barthold Balfour, both colonels of the old regiment in the sixteenth century, Sir David Balfour and Sir Philip Balfour (son of Colonel Barthold), both colonels of the second and third regiments during part of the Thirty Years' War, and another Barthold Balfour, who fell in command of the second regiment at Killiecrankie. In the later years four Mackays, Major-General Hugh of Scourie, killed at Stein-kirk; Brigadier-General AEneas, his nephew, who died, as the .result of wounds received at Namur; Colonel Donald killed at Fontenoy, son of the Brigadier; and Colonel Hugh Mackay, held at different times the command of the same regiment. The second regiment had three colonels of the name of Halkett, and the third one. Two Hendersons, brothers, in succession commanded the second regiment, and another, a generation later, the third. The names of Erskine, Graham, and Murray occur twice, and those of Douglas, Stewart, Scott, Colyear, and Cunningham thrice among the commanding; officers. To enumerate the other members of these and other families, such as Coutts, Livingstone, Sandilands, L'Amy, Lauder, who held commissions, would be endless, but at one time the colonel, lieutenant-colonel, and major of one regiment were all Kirkpatricks, being probably a father and his two sons. Twice the colonel and lieutenant-colonel of one regiment were both brothers of the name of Mackay. That this family character was not confined to the old regiments, but extended to those temporarily in service in 1697-98, is shown by the fact that when Colonel Ferguson's regiment left the Dutch service in 1699, there were five of his name among its officers, while another was, in 1694, promoted a captain in Lauder's.

THE BRIGADE AS A MILITARY SCHOOL

Scarcely less remarkable was the Brigade as a training ground for officers who gained reputation in after-life in the service of Great Britain and of foreign countries. Some of the Dutch officers served in the civil wars; several of Marlborough's major-generals and brigadiers came over as captains and field-officers in 1688, and it is remarkable what a proportion of those serving under the colours in that fateful year afterwards attained to high commands.3 But the phenomenon was marked in later years. Writing in 1774 the author of the Strictures enumerates Colonel Cunningham of Entricken, 'whose behaviour at Minorca and on other occasions did him much honour,'' General James Murray, brother of Lord Elibank, Governor of Quebec after the death of Wolfe, and known as Old Minorca, from his gallant defence of that island, Sir William Stirling of Ardoch, General Graham of the Venetian service, Colonel (then Lieutenant-General) Graham, secretary to the Queen of Great Britain, Lieutenant-Colonel Francis M'Lean, Lieutenant-General in the Portuguese service, Simon Fraser, Lieutenant-Colonel of the 24th regiment and Quarter-Master-General in Ireland, who fell as a General at Saratoga, Thomas Stirling, Lieutenant-Colonel of the 42nd, the Honourable Alexander Leslie, Lieutenant-Colonel of the 64th, James Bruce, David Hepburn, the Honourable John Maitland, brother of the Earl of Lauderdale, James Stewart, son-in-law of the Earl of Marchmont and Lieutenant-Colonel of the 90th, Major Brown of the 70th, James Dundas of Dundas, Sir Henry Seton, Bart., and Colonel Sir Robert Murray Keith. To these should be added Robert Murray of Melgum, afterwards General Count Murray in the Imperial service.

INCIDENTAL FEATURES OF THE DOCUMENTS

The general character of the service, and the conditions under which the Scots lived, fought, and were paid in the Low Countries can only be gathered from a perusal of the papers themselves. It has been shrewdly said that the Dutch were more careful to record matters of money than feats of arms, and to the actual services in the field the official papers contain only few direct references. But here and there such references occur, and the date of a widow^s petition, or a marked change in the personnel of a State of War, dots the T's and strokes the t's of a dry allusion in an old folio to some forgotten skirmish or the carnage of a great battle. The pension lists, and the applications of widows (among whom those of Sir Robert Henderson and Lieutenant-Colonel Allan Coutts were most importunate), also illustrate how the Scottish officers intermarried with the people among whom they lived, and occasionally with Italian and Spanish gentlewomen and noble ladies of Brabant and Flanders. Specially interesting also are the letters of the Scottish sovereigns,—particularly that of King James on the battle of Nieuport in 1600,—and King Charles's solicitude for the ransom of the Scottish prisoners taken at Calloo in 1638. The appointment by the States-General of two of their number to attend the funeral of Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson, ' with the short mantle,' in the same year, indicates exceptional gallantry on the part of one of a family which had already shed its blood and given its life for the cause of which Holland was the guardian. Now and then a flash of humour enlivens the story of eager spirits and niggard paymasters, as when 'to this suppliant the answer must for the present be "Patience."' A pleasant feature is the occasional recommendations by some of the provincial municipal authorities of the Scottish captains stationed in their cities, and although there are occasional complaints of the conduct of the troops,—owing generally to the pay being in arrears,—and a warning by an English commander, in 1615, as to the feeling getting up between a Scots and a Dutch company, two of whose soldiers had had a fracas, the general relations of the Scots with the Dutch population seem to have been consistently friendly and cordial. Indeed, during the Twelve Years' Truce one of the complaints of the inspecting officers was the extent to which the soldiers left their garrisons to work for the country-people; while another subject of animadversion was the occasional enlistment of Dutchmen to fill vacancies in the companies. A frequent offence was the passing off of outsiders to bring up the I numbers of the company, in order to pass review at full strength on a sudden inspection, and one unfortunate, Robert Stuart, was sentenced to be hung in 1602 for too successfully thus passing off six sailors in the ranks of an infantry company. The absence of officers in Scotland for too long a time is also commented on, and the result of John de Witt's report on Captain Gordon's company in 1609 was its being disbanded. A melancholy account is given of the state of Erskine's cavalry squadron in 1606, and among the papers is an apology for insubordination by some of Wishart's troopers tendered to a court-martial. The proceedings of the court-martial on Sergeant Geddie, charged with murder in 1619, are also interesting; and the spirit of the old Scottish family feud is illustrated by David Ramsay's energetic protest, in 1607, against the slayer of his relative 'coming in his sight,'' as well as by Lord Buccleuch's claim for justice in respect of the slaughter of Captain Hamilton. The experiences of the surgeon are indicated by Dr. Balcanqual's petition in 1618; and the regard of the troops for their chaplain is shown by the Reverend Andrew Hunter's long service, his receipt of an increase of pay in 1604, his Latin memorials of 1611 and 1618, and the interesting and honourable letter of the colonels in 1630, in which they ask a further allowance for his widow, and state their readiness 'to provide for our own minister. The divorce of Captain Scott, the marriage of Caj>tain Lindsay with the released lady, and the lawsuit of Captain Waddell with the Countess of Megen and the pupil-heir of the great house of Croy, recalling as it does the happier experiences of Quentin Durward, all find their way into the national archives. The claims presented by Scottish officers on account of the arrears of their pay, or of that due to relatives whom they represented, and the deliberations of the States upon such claims constitute a very large amount of the documents preserved. The main question appears to have been to what extent the United Netherlands, as constituted by the Union of Utrecht, were responsible for services rendered to the whole of the Netherlands before the separation of the reconciled provinces. This is the substantial question raised in Colonel Stuart's claims, and in those of Sir William Balfour as the heir of his father, Sir Henry. It required the issue of letters of marque, authorising Colonel Stuart to recoup himself at the expense of Dutch shipping, to bring the States-General to a serious consideration of his claims for services, which, whether technically rendered to the 'nobles, Prelates, and burgesses sitting at Antwerp,' to ' the nearer union,'' or to the States of Holland and Zealand, were equally instrumental in securing the liberty and independence of the Dutch Republic. His claims and those of Sir William Balfour alike ended in a compromise; and the system of liquidating liabilities and securing fidelity by a large balance of deferred pay was fruitful of similar I claims and compromises with others, such as the heir of Lord Buccleuch, who compounded his father's arrears, as to the liability for which there had been no question, for a pension, the promise of a regiment, and at least temporary freedom from the maintenance of a near though unacknowledged relative, who ultimately took her place among the Scott clan as 'Holland's Jean.' Among the papers relating to Colonel ] Stuart's claims will be found two most interesting reports by Dutch ambassadors of their visits to England and Scotland, 9 containing passages delightfully illustrative of the character of 'Queen Bess,' of the court and conduct of King James, and of the general relations between the Protestant powers. One of I the most valuable documents in a historical sense, and most I interesting to the student of character and manners, is the I graphic narrative of the Dutch ambassadors who attended the baptism of King James's son, Prince Henry.

AUTHORITIES FOR HISTORY OF THE BRIGADE

A word should be added as to the special authorities for the History of the Brigade, which are frequently referred to in this and the narratives prefixed to each period into which the papers have been assorted. In 1774 there was published 'Strictures on Military Discipline' in a series of letters, with a Military Discourse: in which is interspersed some account of the Scotch Brigade in the Dutch Service, by an Officer. This officer is said to have been Colonel James Cunningham and the book advocates reforms in the equipment and pay of the Brigade, the restoration of complete recruiting in Scotland, and, indeed, the enlargement of the force and the association with its infantry battalions of a proportion of the other arms.

In 1794, this was followed by 'An Historical Account of the British Regiments employed since the Reign of Queen Elizabeth and King James'. in the Formation and Defence of the Dutch Republic, particularly of the Scotch Brigade. It was written just at the time when King George 'had been pleased to order that these regiments should be embodied anew,1 and gives, in about a hundred pages, a concise and fairly complete account of the services of the Brigade. The information contained in the Dutch papers, however, corrects it in some points, and the writer has fallen into the common mistake of not observing that King William handed over six and not merely three Scots regiments to the Dutch Government in 1697, and of confounding the three old regiments with the three temporarily in the Dutch service at that time and during the war of the Spanish Succession. The error is a ,natural one, for when the Brigade returned at the Peace of 'Ryswick Walter Philip Colyear commanded one of the old regiments, while his brother Sir David Colyear, raised to the peerage as Lord Portmore, was colonel of one of the additional ones, taken into service in 1701.

In 1795 there was also published ' An Exhortation to the Officers and Men of the First Battalion of the Scotch Brigade. Delivered at the Castle of Edinburgh on the 7th of June 1795, a few days before the battalion received their colours, to which is added a Short Account of the Brigade by William Porteous, | D.D., chaplain to the battalion. The author of the ' Historical Account' had compared the position of the officers of the Brigade in Holland after the war with Great Britain began to that of officers who had, in the execution of their duty and without any fault or error on their part, fallen into the hands-of the enemy, and had contended that ' whatever the means i may have been by which a British regiment has fallen into the I enemy's hands, it cannot be in the power of that enemy to extinguish or abolish it.' In addressing the newly-formed battalion, the chaplain used words which indicate that its embodiment was regarded in Great Britain not as the creation of a new but as the resurrection of an old regiment. ' Our ears,' said Dr. Porteous, i have been accustomed to hear of the fame of the Scotch Brigade; of the moderation, sobriety, and honesty, as well as of the courage and patience of this corps; you have not to erect a new fabric, but to build on the reputation of your predecessors, and I am confident you will not disgrace them.' His 'Short' Account, while covering much the same ground as the 'Historical Account, contains some additional particulars. There is also a short notice of the Brigade appended to Grose's Military Antiquities, and a note upon it in Steven's History of the Scotch Church at Rotterdam.

Among the papers of Mrs. Stopford Sackville, at Drayton House, Nottinghamshire, is a copy of a document (after 1772), ' Facts relative to the Scotch Brigade in the Service of Holland.'

There are of course allusions to the services of the Scots in j the many English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Italian histories of the War of Independence. For the time of Prince Maurice, the best authority is Orler's Lauriers de Nassau, and for that j of his brother the Memoires de Frederick Henry Prince d'Orange. For the campaigns of William Henry, the Memoirs of Bernardi and of Carleton, the Life of William III., and the History of Holland supply a limited amount of information.

The Editor has to record his sense of the assistance he has received from Dr. Mendels and M. d'Engelbronner who transcribed the documents at the Hague, and whose intelligent researches have greatly aided the work of annotation, and particularly from Colonel de Bas, the keeper of the Archives of the Royal House of Orange at the Hague, who supplied valuable information as to the succession of the regiments in the eighteenth century; and also to express his grateful thanks to many friends and correspondents in Scotland and elsewhere, too numerous to enumerate, who, by supplying particulars as to their ancestors who served in the Brigade, or otherwise, have enabled him in many cases to identify the individuals whose names appear in the States of War. Similar acknowledgments are due to Mr. J. Rudolff Hugo, and to the Rev. J. Ballingall, Rhynd, Perthshire, who have undertaken the labours of carrying out and revising the translation of the Dutch documents.

It had originally been intended to print the Dutch text as well as the English translation of the Dutch documents, but the volume of material was so great that on careful consideration the Council were satisfied that they must confine themselves to printing the English translation of Dutch originals, and the French text alone of documents in French. For the convenience of scholars the complete transcripts of the original Dutch here translated, and of other documents, including the lists from the Commission and Oath Books, which the Editor has used in the preparation and annotation of these volumes, will be deposited and preserved in the Advocates1 Library, Edinburgh.

J. F.

Kinmundy, Aberdeenshire,
11th Novr.
1898.


Having now given you the introduction you can read the three volumes here...

Volume 1  |  Volume 2  |  Volume 3


Return to our Netherlands Page